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Song Analyzation: Limelight

Song Analyzation: Limelight
The song being analyzed is Limelight by Rush
3 to 5 pages PLUS a cover and reference page
Logical flow of topics and points from paragraph to paragraph
Proper use of terminology including music term and phrases
Proper analysis of the song including keys, times, scales, rhythms, and tempos
3rd person narrative, Page headers, and a conclusion paragraph



Limelight is a song categorized as rock. It is written by Neil Peart, Rush band’s drummer.
In 1980s, the band comprising of three musicians made the song public, after which it received
massive airplay. Neil had composed the song a few years back, during a time when he found it
difficult to deal with the reality of celebrity, as well as his personal struggles. In an interview
conducted in 1988, the leader of the trio, Geddy Lee, acknowledged that the song was possibly
more of a contribution by Neil, contrary to most of the songs in their album. This implies that his
feelings concerning being in the limelight, his hardship dealing with the celebrity life, having to
sign many autographs from autograph seekers, in addition to having to forego their privacy and
numerous demands on time, pushed Neil to express his feelings by writing the song.

Song Analyzation

The reasons for composing the song bring out Limelight’s thesis, which is to articulate
views on fame and challenges famous persons face generally. This is apparent in the lyrics,
“Living on a lighted stage approaches the unreal for those who think and feel” (Music Banter).
The lines state that being the center of attention, while on stage is an almost dreamlike sensation.
This implies that anyone who becomes famous experiences a level of change and feels different
from their normal selves, when performing on stage. In another sentence, the song refers to a fish
eye, “Living in a fish eye lens caught in the camera eye” (Music Banter). The fish eye lens
disfigures an image in the similar manner that the media disfigures the band’s image.
It is not just Rush’s image that is disfigured, rather, the life of all celebrities. It is
common to see the media publicize and criticize the lives of celebrities. All Neil desires is that
the media stops portraying celebrities in a distorted image, but present the real identity of the
celebrities. In “I have no heart to lie I can’t pretend a stranger is a long-awaited friend” (Music
Banter) Neil insists that he does not view the audience as allies simply because they appreciate
his music. This is because as a celebrity, the same audience will be quick to criticize him, which
makes the life of a celebrity difficult.
The song Limelight comprises of an odd meter (Wall, 2009). The song alters often,
changing from seven beats at a measure to the normal four. Possibly because the tempo is slow
enough making it possible for the listener to nod to all beats; it becomes improbable to feel the
metric changes. Limelight alters meters in a manner that appears natural as the shifts fit the lyrics
(Wall, 2009). Rush smoothly ensures that the song rolls to subsequent phrases, which results in a
slow bridge, common in triple meter, and a unique aesthetic feeling. Even as the solo guitar
winds up, the song logically develops from the triple meter supporting the solo back to the initial
seven. For some moment, the guitar and rhythm section appear backward, however they progress
to move along snapping in place in the final chorus.
The song employs a personal variation scale. This is because the scales are modified
through alterations in notes all through the song. There is no apparent manner of changing the
scale because the music is merely intended at sounding well. The scales become apparent
through the guitar solo, which employs a single scale at some instance. The third stanza differs
from the others as it has only three lines, which slows down the guitar solo, prior to moving to
the next stanza. Rush has created their own variation scale, since the tones keep altering in the
different song verses. This is attributed to the changes in meter as has been evaluated in the
paragraph on odd meter.
The chords follow the similar direction like the scales. The song has endeavored to
ensure that the chords are simple. The chords alter regularly all through the song. As soon as a
rhythm pattern has been established, the song sticks to the rhythm for some time. Similar to most

rock music, the song does not go beyond the minor and main chords. Limelight employs added
2nds, 4ths as well as 6ths. In addition is the application of a number of dominant 7ths chords.
The song employs blue progressions founded on the minor scale. Notably, the song also sticks to
a diatonic chord, IV-V-I.


Limelight is a song that has received massive airplay and many rock fans progress to
listen to the song. The song has also being employed as a theme song in some movies. The theme
of the song makes it possible for many listeners to understand the life of celebrities. Although
most people may admire becoming celebrities, through the song it becomes apparent that
celebrities almost often have to lead a double life. They have to assume a different life while on
stage and another when not performing. The band employs guitar solo to make slow transitions
in the song, which enhances its effectiveness, in addition to a personal variation scale.


Wall, B. (2009). Some songs considered.

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